Meet Janice Schneider. She has been living with blood cancers since 2014 and attending Leukemia Research Foundation Patient Education Programs since 2016.
What events led to your diagnosis?
I was being treated for some other health issues when doctors told me that I was anemic and I should look into it with my primary doctor. After many months of dealing with fatigue and other symptoms I finally had enough and asked for a referral, which led to blood tests and my diagnosis in 2014. I was actually diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (B-NHL) as my primary blood cancer and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) with a 5Q deletion as a secondary condition. I was treated for the lymphoma first and went into remission within a year but then the MDS became active. I started treatment for the MDS in early 2016.
How did you become aware of Leukemia Research Foundation Patient Education Programs?
My primary doctor had information on the Town Hall Meeting on one of his counters. It took me some time to decide to participate. When I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t go to anything – maybe due to depression or something. Once I was more comfortable with my diagnosis and my treatment, I started going to educational programs and the first time I went, I found that my hematologist was on the panel.
Do you find the Programs helpful?
I’ve been going to the patient education programs since January of 2016. I’ve learned a lot from the doctors there. Doctors other than my own. Very impressive people on the panels.
The programs are so affirming! When you hear information from some of the top doctors that confirms that the treatment direction you are going is logical or good or likely to be effective, it makes you as a patient feel more confident or relieved that you’re on the right track.
Any tips to share with others?
• When you’re diagnose, make sure to get a second opinion to be sure that your diagnosis is correct.
• Find or build a support system to help keep your mood positive and stay informed. It helps to converse with others living with the same problem.
• Take any opportunity, like those offered by the Leukemia Research Foundation, to become more educated on your disease and take others who are helping in your care to them too.